Learn ow know design history can make you a better designer.
- An area of design that does not get enough attention is the history of design. Designers often focus on what's hot today and spend time trying to determine what's going to be hot tomorrow. Design is a field obsessed with all things on the cutting edge. However, many of the best designers incorporate inspiration from the greats of the past, creating fresh and smart designs as a result. Studying work from the Bauhaus, the arts and crafts movements, and legends like Saul Bass and Tibor Kalman will awaken your senses and breathe new life into your work.
You'll encounter new palettes and typefaces and be inspired by the masters' layout configurations and ways they incorporated imagery. Infusing the work you're currently doing with influences from the past can yield exceptional and unique results. It's also helpful to know what looks were popular when so you can use those styles in a design related to that time period. For example, a poster promoting an exhibit of fashion from the 70s will more effectively communicate that if the colors and typefaces you choose are from that period.
We see this all the time, but you need to know your history in order to pull it off well. To start getting up to speed on your design history, check out the courses I've outlined in the Exercise Files. They illustrate some of the most important works of our time, and will help you determine what era resonates most with you, your idea, and your design aesthetic. Knowing history is essential to creating great design.